Legion Week

Legion Week parade helps kick off festivities



By Ron Giofu


Legion Week is underway in Amherstburg with the local branch kicking it off last Saturday with parades and awards.

Legion Week, the origins of which date back to 1953 when an open house was held in Dresden, is traditionally celebrated the third week of September. Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 held its parade and gathered back at the branch afterward. Capt. Jeff Turner, commanding officer of the #202 Fort Malden Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, acted as master of ceremonies and read proclamations from Ontario Command and other dignitaries, including Premier Doug Ford.

Ford’s statement included comments about it being a good opportunity for members of the community to come out and discover more about their local Legion branch.

Zone Commander Gayle Brown congratulated Legion Br. 157 for its parade and hoped the community would go to the Legion to find out what it’s all about.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard leads the Sept. 15 parade down Dalhousie St. (above) and Sandwich St. S. (below).

“I invite everyone to come in and see what the Royal Canadian Legion does and why we are part of this organization,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale brought greetings from the town, as Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was in Ohio with local Miracle League players at the Miracle League all-star game. DiPasquale stated the Legion is a very worthy organization.

“This building and the people who work inside of it make it go,” said DiPasquale. “It’s a great place.”

The parade returned to Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 upon its conclusion.

Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 president Laurie Cavanaugh thanked those who helped put Legion Week together.

“A lot of work goes into this week,” she said. “It takes a lot of people, a lot of volunteers.”

Cavanaugh said the Legion is hopeful of having people come in and see what it offers.

“This week, if we get one or two members or if we get one or two people come out that have never been here before, it’s an accomplishment,” said Cavanaugh.

Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 also recognized members with Years of Service Awards.

Awards for affiliate members included Mark Denunzio (10 years) and Michael J. Duby (20 years).

Associate member ten-year awards included James Cyrowski, Martina Heeren, Christina Hindi, Diane C. Langlois, Judith Loomis, Murray Loomis, Amber Turner and Constance Sinasac. Cavanaugh and Jocelyn Hagerty received 15-year awards while 20-year award went to Gary Cooper, Ed J. Delisle, Dawn M. Fryer, Dennis Pajot and Karrie Thrasher. Receiving 25-year awards were John D. Bradt, John Richard Crozier, Mark Fox, Ulyses Wayne McKinnon, Clark Moore and Michael Prue.

Associate 30-year awards went to Carol Ann Goodbout and B.B. Sprague Jr. while J. F. Fox, I.J. Goulin and Cameron Jones were recognized for 35 years of membership. Receiving awards for 40-years were Kathryn Lancop and G.G. Murray Jr. while J.P. Mertens received a 45-year award.

Capt. Richard Girard received an award for his 55 years of service to Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157.

Years of Service Awards for ordinary members went to Allan Carroll and Shawn Cooper (10 years), Laura Gazdig, Terry Hall and Russell Revington (15 years), Tracy Cooper (25 years), William St. John (30 years), John Copland (35 years), Wayne Surtees (45 years), Wayne Hurst (50 years) and Richard Girard (55 years).

Activities and events the remainder of Legion Week include a veteran appreciation dinner Wednesday night at 7 p.m. where veterans eat free, a general membership meeting Thursday at 7 p.m., a Ladies Auxiliary dinner 4-6:30 p.m. Friday, a chicken wing special Saturday from 4-6 p.m. and a Sunday breakfast from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. where veterans eat free. There will also be music and other events during the week as well.

To view more photos from the Sept. 15 Legion Week parade in Amherstburg, visit our Facebook album.

Legion Week gets started with parade and awards



By Ron Giofu


Legion Week began in Amherstburg last Saturday morning with the annual parade with some awards and medals following.

The parade took place Saturday and left from in behind General Amherst High School and went down to the Cenotaph where a “drum head” service took place. It was explained by Zone Sgt. At Arms Richard Girard that in times of conflict, pipe bands that were utilized often piled their drums so that ministers could use them for altars when needed.

That was re-enacted Saturday morning with the aid of the Sun Parlour Pipes and Drums with Rev. Maynard Hurst blessing the drum head. Hurst also recognized the veterans and those who served, as well as Rev. John Burkhart.

Burkhart, Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157’s regular chaplain, couldn’t attend Saturday’s service due to his health.

As part of the Legion Week parade, a drum head ceremony was held Saturday at the Cenotaph.

Legion Br. 157 recognized the people who saw it move to its current location, as president Laurie Cavanaugh pointed out Legion members talked about making things easier for the Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary previously had to go up flights of stairs with food after preparing meals at home but the Legion was able to address that need in 1981 and the current design of the Legion was created.

Cavanaugh added the Legion has always been thankful of its volunteers, and that continued today.

“It’s about the volunteers,” she said. “We are thankful to our volunteers. Thank you to everyone who comes and helps out at the Legion and to everyone who showed up (for Saturday’s Legion Week ceremonies).”

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said there are those in the public who only realize what the Legion does on Remembrance Day but pointed out the Legion does good things for people in the community every other day of the year as well. He encouraged other people in the community to join the Legion.

“If you are not a member, please become one,” he said.

Charles Goodchild was recognized for his 60 years as part of the Legion. Patti Hayes, executive assistant to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, presents him with a certificate.

DiCarlo thanked the Legion and those who fought for Canada for what they have done for the town and country.

“We will be forever in your debt,” he said.

Among the associate members recognized for ten years of service were Judith Bondy, Jacqueline Carroll, Sheila Meunier, Brian Sukarukoff and Amber Turner.

Warde Yorke and Richard Girard salute during the Sept. 16 Legion Week ceremony at the Cenotaph.

Those reaching the 15-year mark as an associate member are Tracy Beaudoin, Ronald Haystead, Alvin Jackson, Marguerite Jones, Virginia Moore, James Repaye and John Purdie. Recognized for 20 years are Tim DeHetre, Ed Delisle, Gerald Langlois, Linda McCourt, M.J. McLean, J.R. Murray and Pete Reid.

Those reaching the 25-year milestone as an associate member are Brian Barrett, Ronald Belward, Jennifer Brunett, Margaret Cote, John Richard Crozier, John Gorgerat and David Iler. Hitting the 30-year milestone are Bea Gibb, Janet Martlin, Peter McEwen and JoAnn Mooney.

Recognized for 35 years as an associate member are Marion DeCarlo and Randy Fox while 40 year pins went to Val DiPierdomenico, Kathryn Lancop, Charles Sanford and Robert Vance.

Linda McCort (left) and Pat Amlin (right) present Richard Girard and Charles Goodchild with watches in recognition of their Korean War service.

Awards to affiliate voting members went to Peter Thyrring (10 years) and Albert Beneteau, Carol Cormier, Michael Duby, Carl Gibb, William McLean, D. Ross and Michael Sullivan (20 years).

Pins for ordinary members went to Bryan Giles and Frederick Wilkinson for their 10 years of service, Fifteen-year pins went to Cornelis Heeren, Leo Lapage, Terrance Sawchuk and Jeff Turner, while Bart DiPasquale, Nick Hertlein, Reg Major, Marcel Pare and John Walsh will receive 20-year pins. Chris Bebbington will be recognized for 25 years as an ordinary member while Gary Rung will be honoured for 30 years. Recognized for 35 years will be Lori Parent and Richard St. Aubin while W.C. Briand and M.R. Hagarty will be recognized for 45 years.

Linda McCort (left) presents Pat Waugh with a pin for her 55 years of service to the Ladies Auxiliary.

Charles Goodchild was on hand to receive his 60 year pin, with Nadine Abiraad and Patti Hayes making presentations to him on behalf of Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak respectively.

Goodchild and Girard were also presented with watches as part of the Royal Canadian Legion’s recognition of Korean War veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard also received Legion Volunteer Service Medals.

The Ladies Auxiliary honoured Pat Waugh for her 55 years of service while Vera Botting was recognized for her 25 years of service. Kris Martin, Mary Ann Hasson, Bea Gibb and Ruth Ann Rocheleau were honoured for their 20 years of service to the L.A., while Dianne Breault, Debbie Sullivan and Jeannine Theriault were honoured for 15 years of service.

Melissa Pelletier, Linda McCort and Pat Sheardown were recognized for ten years of service while Mary Ann Brooker was honoured for five years of service.

Legion Week kicks off with special medal presentations



By Ron Giofu


Legion Week began in grand style at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157, including a pair of important medal presentations.

Doug Ramsay, 94, was honoured as a Knight in France’s Legion of Honor, the highest decoration that nation awards. His medal was presented to him during the opening of Legion Week Saturday morning. The Legion of Honor has five different degrees with Knight being the highest.

Ramsay served with the Essex Scottish Regiment from Sept. 5, 1939 until June 27, 1945. He served in Canada, England and France.

Ramsay was also recognized with his 65-year service bar and pin during the ceremony.

“My personal feeling is, I’m one of the last ones left,” said Ramsay.

While proud to receive the award, Ramsay was also modest as he added there are many others who fought with him during World War II that would be deserving as well.

Doug Ramsay (left) receives his Legion of Honor medal from Zone Commander Bill Robertson.

Doug Ramsay (left) receives his Legion of Honor medal from Zone Commander Bill Robertson.

“I accept this for a lot of people and I am proud to do so,” he said.

Rev. John Burkhart, who has been the padre for the Amherstburg Legion branch for most of the last three decades, was also honoured with a volunteer branch service medal. It came as a surprise to Burkhart, who like Ramsay, attended the ceremony with his family.

“It’s very nice,” said Rev. Burkhart. “It’s a surprise more than anything. You don’t look for things like this.”

Burkhart said the Legion has a “great” membership and said he enjoys being around everyone. He said he likes being around the men at the Legion and that the Ladies Auxiliary do a great job and gave them a lot of credit for the work they do.

Br. 157 also installed a new president as Dave Lauzon was sworn in. Lauzon read greetings from Legion officials across the province as well as Premier Kathleen Wynne. One of the greetings came from Dominion president David Flannigan, who noted the Legion is an organization that provides direct assistance to veterans, including $17 million through the annual poppy campaign.

“We walk the talk,” he said in his remarks.

Lauzon also read remarks from Brian Weaver, president of the provincial command and also a member of Br. 201 in Essex. Weaver wrote that the Legion provides “unwavering service for veterans at home and abroad” and encouraged all Legions to open their doors for non-members and show their communities what Legions have to offer.

Rev. John Burkhart receives  a volunteer service medal from Don Nantais.

Rev. John Burkhart receives
a volunteer service medal from Don Nantais.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo brought greetings from the town and said he is learning what the Legion is all about and what it means.

“Before I leave today, if you will have me, I will be joining the Legion and I encourage everyone to join,” said DiCarlo.

The mayor added: “Amherstburg is definitely the recipient of Branch 157’s generosity and dedication to community. Every chance I get, I proudly speak of the things and events you do.”

Legion Br. 157 also awarded several years of service pins to long standing members. Pins for ordinary members went to Sean Gazdig (15 years), Lorne E. Fox and Dwight J. Jones (25 years), Gary Dufour and Gary Rung (30 years), Ward Yorke (40 years), Robert Dudley and Garnet Brush (45 years) as well as Ramsay’s 65 year bar and pin.

Years of service pins for associate members included June Gignac, Rick Hill, Tony Jaber, Debbie Sullivan and Patricia Vance (10 years); Carolyn Brown, Judie Brown, Carolyn Davies, Mary Ethel Dow, John Edward Kay Jr., James Northgrave, Merv Richards, Kirk D. Smith, Tim Soderstrom, Robert St. George and Gordon R. Williams (15 years); Betty Beaudoin, Betty Lou Beaudoin, Linda Falzon, Gregory Fox, Marie Fox, M.A. Girard, Joseph E. Renaud and Shawn P. White (20 years); Lynn Sheryl Crozier, M. Fox, Robert S. Fox, Margaret J. Renaud, Larry Renaud (30 years); Dan M. Maloney, Charles A. Robinson, J.P. White Jr. (35 years); J.P Deneau, Dave A. Pouget, M. Purdie, Diane Quittenton, J.L. Sprague and J.L. Vance (40 years).

Affiliate voting pins went to Ron Bastien and Bruce A. Gamble (10 years) and William W. McDonald (15 years).